Relay Honors Fallen Officers

Photo by Leonard COUTIN
The community turned out to participate in the annual Peace Officer Memorial Run that took place last Sunday and included a leg that extended from the Sheriff’s Station on Briggs Avenue to La Cañada High School.

By Brandon HENSLEY

Crescenta Valley residents had to forget the notion of Sunday drivers last weekend and instead concentrate on Sunday runners.
The Peace Officer Memorial Run took place Sunday afternoon, and the CV Sheriff’s station played a part in it as a group of runners, made up of CV residents and law enforcement, ran four miles from the Sheriff’s Station to La Cañada High School.
They took the slow lane on Foothill Boulevard, though traffic was still backed up a bit as patrol cars escorted the runners all the way to the end.
The CV Sheriff’s Station was a bit player in the run, as it is part of the whole L.A. County Sheriff’s run that lasts three days and covers over 300 miles. The run has been going on for 34 years.
“This year we’re really glad we’re able to have one of Crescenta Valley’s six legs and open up to the community to run along with us,” said Capt. Dave Silversparre, who brought a group of his friends to run alongside of him.
There were 60 legs of the run in all. It kicked off on 9 a.m. Friday and was expected to finish 4 p.m. in Altadena on Sunday. The first CV leg began at leg 52 at Angeles Crest Highway and ran several legs that covered Big Tujunga to Foothill Boulevard and Mt. Gleason Avenue and on to the Crescenta Valley Station.
The purpose of the relay was to commemorate fallen officers who paid the ultimate sacrifice in years past.
“The Crescenta Valley Station of past years has lost two of its officers, and while this memorial run is commemorating the two that were lost, this particular year we’re doing this in memory of all the officers that have been lost over the years,” Silversparre said.
The two officers Silversparre talked about were LASD Deputy Charlene Rotter and California Highway Patrol Officer Philip Ortiz.
Rotter was involved in a traffic accident in 1972. She required 50 different surgeries for her injuries and passed away from them last year.
Ortiz was in a traffic accident on the 405 Freeway last year. He died two weeks later on June 23.
Outside the station, the runners were ready to go by 1:30 p.m. Before the run, Silversparre asked for a moment of silence for the fallen officers. Not too long later, they pulled into La Cañada High School, everyone having made it.  There were bottles of water and watermelon for the runners to enjoy as they cooled down.
Two people who didn’t have any trouble finishing were Kaj Strommer and Linda Taix from Taix Workout Studio who both wore shirts that read “Extreme Fitness.”
Strommer joked he was running to support the men in blue, “but they’re kind of green,” noting the deputies uniform colors.
Nonetheless he said he wanted to  “show support for the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, the sacrifices they made for us, and to show support for the community.”
“For all those who lost their lives in the line of duty,” Taix added.